A $10 Million Renovation Has Made This Historic LA Club Even More Alluring
Written By: Ashlee Polarek LA Athletic Club
The Los Angeles Athletic Club doesn’t look like much from the outside. But hidden within the walls of this seemingly modest building in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, is the gorgeous and historical Athletic Club. This year, the LAAC has unveiled phase two of its $10 million renovation. The extensive improvements include a world-class women’s locker room, the Kahuna Room, the Wave Club, meeting rooms by Tracy Beckmann and a stunning sculpture—and we got the exclusive preview!
The first stop on our tour was the all-new Mercury Sports Shop and pop-up retail space. This area features an ever-changing supply of beautiful products like designer goods, clothing and sports gear! Not to mention the new LAAC branded threads that are not only cute and stylish but available to fill up your closet ASAP.
Located in the Mercury Sports Shop is the incredible sculpture of the Greek god, Mercury. The sculpture is surrounded by a grand staircase leading to some special projects to be unveiled after the completion of the final renovation phase. The impressive stainless steel sculpture by San Diego artist Richard Becker stands at 17 feet and weighs one thousand pounds. After unveiling the statue and touching Mercury’s winged sandals for luck, it was on to exploring the women’s locker room.
The new women’s locker room facility is stunning. We entered the locker rooms through the lounge where you can relax and catch up on some TV before or after your workout. Beyond the lounge are the lockers. They come in a variety of styles and LAAC Members can rent both small and large lockers for a set period of time, or just grab one for the day.
Gorgeously inlaid blue and grey tiles brighten the spacious showers and wet facilities, with a separate sink for brushing teeth and getting ready and another area for doing makeup and hair. A steam room and sauna flank a large jacuzzi, perfect for a day of relaxation and pampering. A quiet room complete with heated blankets and lounge chairs completes the luxurious space.
The Kahuna Room is also an Instagram-worthy space. Paying homage to Duke Kahanamoku, it features palm frond wallpaper, beautiful wood floors, huge windows and all the copper pineapples your heart desires. In big neon signage, the Duke Kahanamoku quote “I have never seen snow and do not know what winter means,” perfectly captures the aloha spirit of it all.
The room is available for English Tea services—sponsored by Absolut Elyx Vodka—where you can enjoy tea-infused cocktails as well as sweet and savory English finger foods reimagined with an island flair by Chef Charles Olalia. The House Brioche with pineapple curd is something out of a delicious Hawaiian dream. And the chamomile and lavender tea-infused cocktail aptly titled “The Water of Youth” is absolutely divine. I could have had more than a few of those and napped the day away in the new “Quiet Room.”
Also unveiled with the renovation is WAVE, an intersectional community that focuses on professional and personal development of women and female-identifying and gender non-conforming LAAC members. The club hosts weekly workshops, panel discussions, newsletters, career coaching and a private workspace.
As the city’s first private club, the Los Angeles Athletic Club has done a fantastic job melding art and photographs from its archives into the renovation, all while bringing a modern and clean look to the club without destroying its history. If you haven’t considered a membership at the club do it now…seriously!
LA Athletic Club
431 W 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
213.486.3813 LA Athletic Club
Ashlee is a freelance writer with a focus on travel, lifestyle and food. After obtaining her degree in Journalism she took the world by storm teaching in South Korea and giving motivation speeches across the United States. She can often be found on road-trips, plane rides and cooking up her favorite meal from her most recent travels. The anti-homebody loves a good hike, good book and a day spent with friends.